SLOW: My Guiding Word for 2021

I know I’m not alone in stating that 2020 really kicked us in the nuts. It was a year from hell in so many ways, and not what was expected or wanted. But it also was a year of great change and realisation for myself. It was tough but there were also good things to come out of the chaos. One thing that I carry with me into the New Year is the practice of slow.

Whether we wanted to, or liked to, or not, 2020 made us all slow down. Being locked down, in the UK, for the most of the year, I got into a routine and practice of slowing down and being satisfied by achieving less and less each day, each week, each month. Consequently, being more in touch with my life moment to moment. I had to be more present within my life on a day to day basis as that’s all I had to occupy my attention. How I moved through my day, what I did, or ate. Who I talked to or not, who I spent time with or not, was all magnified to huge proportions, that I came to appreciate what I had and didn’t have within my life.

Slowing down was my way of living to the full within the restrictions and limitations. To the point that when the restrictions were eased, when there were more opportunities to re-engage with society, at the back end of 2020, before we went back into a lockdown, and the tiers were introduced, I chose to remain in this slowed down pace way of living. People were rushing and frantically trying to get back to ‘normal’, trying to catch up for the time they felt was lost and wasted during lockdown, but for me this time at home was time gifted. Time I used to go within and really work on myself.

Slowing down is a gift and a privilege which I’m not rushing to give up as we enter 2021. I’m going to use the word ‘slow’ as my guiding word for the year as an anchor to continue exploring what my life can become when I chose to go, to work, to be at my own pace. I intend to work out on a day to day basis what it means to slow down rather than work or perform at someone else’s urgent-got-to-be-completed-yesterday demands.

Slowing down is empowering as it means I’m taking back control of how I operate within this world. I’m not going to make demands on other people’s time or energy as if it’s totally necessary as I don’t know their story. I don’t know what other pressures they’re carrying at this time, so I don’t want to add to their burden with my time-sensitive demands. I hope through practicing this for myself and with others that other people will offer the same gesture to me. To allow me to move and be at my own pace, a must slower pace. Things will be done and completed all in good time.

I want to bring about change to what is valued within society, Western society in particular, where productivity and demonstrating our busyness is seen as admirable and something we should all constantly strive for. Rather than being slower, slowing down to savour the moments, and being more focused at the same time. Slow is not lazy or backwards or to be dismissed. Slow is simple and calming and nourishing.

I look forward to this year and exploring the art of slow/ slowness/ slowed down living and being.

December Reading

I was hoping to finish for a Christmas break sooner in December than I actually did. I wanted to ease into the holidays, getting snug and cosy and reading to my heart’s content. Of course even the best laid plans go awry. But I still managed to clock up some reads, as I got ready for 2021. What is going to be my focus the new year? I think there’s some clues within my December reading list.

Here are the books I read this month:

  1. Black Bodies, White Gaze – George Yancy
  2. Keep Going – Austin Kleon
  3. Creatrix – she who makes – Lucy H. Pearce
  4. Slow: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Hectic World – Jo Peters
  5. The Year of Less – Cait Flanders
  6. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton

Tripping Over Joy

Tripping Over Joy
by Hafez

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint
Knows that the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping Over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.

This is what I’m listening to …

 

Listening and allow it to touch you soul.  I just love the powerful lyrics in this singer-songwriter’s  Danielle Ponder,  recently performed at NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. ‘ Poor Man’s Pain.’

“Freedom, won’t you, call out their names, Freedom, won’t you, call out my name. “

The Streets are Talking

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Image credit – Clay Banks

The streets are on fire.
Smoke coats our tongues
like iron in our blood.

We walk for our rights
as weedy paths like barbed
wire lacerate our ankles.

God is in our shouts.
Demands for justice pour
forth smelling of lilies.

Winds of hope on the horizon
are felt like cherry blossom,
delicate and beautiful

but not short lived.